Kalambo Falls on the Kalambo River
The Kalambo River forms part of the border between Zambia and Tanzania. It is a comparatively small stream which rises in the highlands north-east of Mbala at an elevation of about 1800 m and descends into the Eastern Great Rift Valley, entering the southeastern end of Lake Tanganyika at an...
is a 772ft (235m) single drop waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...
on the border of Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...
at the southeast end of Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia; it is also the world's longest freshwater lake...
. The falls are some of the tallest uninterrupted falls in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...
(after South Africa's Tugela Falls
Tugela Falls is the world's second highest waterfall. The total drop in five free-leaping falls is . They are located in the Drakensberg in the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Republic of South Africa. They are easily viewed after a heavy rain from the main travel road into...
, Ethiopia's Jin Bahir Falls and some more waterfalls). Downstream of the falls the Kalambo Gorge which has a width of about 1 km and a depth of up to 300 m runs for about 5 km before opening out into the Lake Tanganyika rift valley
A rift valley is a linear-shaped lowland between highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift or fault. This action is manifest as crustal extension, a spreading apart of the surface which is subsequently further deepened by the forces of erosion...
Falls were first seen by white people approximately in 1913. Initially it was assumed that the height of falls exceeds 300 m, but measurements in 1920ies gave a more modest result above 200 m. Later measurements in 1956 gave a result 221 m. After this there have been made several more measurements, each with slightly different results. Widths of falls is 3.6 - 18 m.
Archaeologically, Kalambo Falls is one of the most important sites in Africa. It has produced a sequence of past human activity stretching over more than two hundred and fifty thousand years. It was first excavated in 1953 by John Desmond Clark who recognised archaeological activity around a small basin lake upstreams from the falls.
Late Acheulian stone tools, hearths and well preserved organic objects were found there including a wooden club and digging stick
In archaeology and anthropology a digging stick is the term given to a variety of wooden implements used primarily by subsistence-based cultures to dig out underground food such as roots and tubers or burrowing animals and anthills...
s and evidence of fruit consumption. Tools excavated from Kalambo Gorge have been dated to around 300,000 BC, and the hearths indicate people were using fire systematically there some 60,000 years ago.
The Acheulian industry was superseded by the Sangoan
The Sangoan archaeological industry is the name given by archaeologists to a Palaeolithic tool manufacturing style which may have developed from the earlier Acheulian types . In addition to the Acheulian stone tools, use was also made of bone and antler picks...
and then Lupemban
The Lupemban is the name given by archaeologists to a central African culture which, though once thought to date between c. 30,000 and 12,000 BC, is now generally recognised to be far older . The industry is characterised by the occurrence of bi-facially flaked lanceolate points...
An archaeological industry, normally just "industry", is the name given in the study of prehistory to a consistent range of assemblages connected with a single product, such as the Langdale axe industry...
related to those found in the Congo
The Congo Basin is the sedimentary basin that is the drainage of the Congo River of west equatorial Africa. The basin begins in the highlands of the East African Rift system with input from the Chambeshi River, the Uele and Ubangi Rivers in the upper reaches and the Lualaba River draining wetlands...
. Around 10,000 years ago the site was occupied by the Magosian
The Magosian is the name given by archaeologists to an industry found in southern and eastern Africa. It dates to between 10,000 and 6,000 years BC and is distinguished from its predecessors by the use of microliths and small blades.In 1953, J...
culture which in turn gave way to Wilton
The Wilton culture is the name given by archaeologists to an archaeological culture which was common to parts of south and east Africa around six thousand years ago.It was first described by John Hewitt after he excavated with the collaboration of C. W...
activity. Finally, around the fourth century AD, a more industrialised Bantu people began to farm and occupy the area.
In 1964 the archaeological site was gazetted as a national monument by Zambia's National Heritage Conservation Commission.
The falls' cliff-face ledges provide nesting places and breeding sites for a Marabou Stork
The Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus, is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, occurring in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips...